11 January 2018
I’m delighted and happy to pay $6 for two scoops of ice cream at Jeni’s. Why? I believe the secret starts with the spoons.
Jeni’s serves delicious, premium-quality ice cream. It’s expensive, yet whenever I go there, I never think about how much the ingredients cost as compared to the price I pay.
The reason, I believe, is that every aspect of Jeni’s is carefully crafted to create a premium experience and justify the price.
Let’s start with the metal sample spoons. They’re metal! They feel premium because they are premium. In every other ice cream parlor I’ve ever been to, the sample spoons are plastic.
The result of the metal spoons–and the friendly staff–is that you feel like you’re getting special treatment. It’s a white-glove service for ice cream.
The environment of Jeni’s supports the premium feel as well. Wooden floors, long, elegant tables, classy lighting, plenty of space, etc. When I get Jeni’s ice cream, I want to eat it there.
Of course, it’s also important that the ice cream is delicious. If the final product isn’t aligned with the other layers of customer experience, all is for naught.
What does this mean for Kickstarter creators?
If you offer a premium option–and I encourage you to do so–think about the various ways that you can support the idea that it’s worth the premium price. Part of it is the composition of the product itself, like the giant ray guns and player mats in the deluxe version of Overworld Games’ Leaders of Euphoria. That’s comparable to Jeni’s ice cream tasting delicious.
But what about the metal spoons and the environment? I think those are related to the atmosphere and personal service you offer through the Kickstarter campaign. Though I wouldn’t recommend being nicer to premium backers over other backers. It’s more about consistency–show all backers that you’re there to help and engage with them every day. You could also prioritize the shipping for premium customers.
What does this mean for other companies?
If you offer a premium product or service, look for your plastic spoon and figure out how to make it into a metal spoon. That is, look for the aspects of (or surrounding) the product that don’t support the premium claim. Maybe your product looks great but your website hasn’t been updated since 1995. Maybe the product packaging needs an upgrade (see how Top Shelf Gamer packages their products). And so on. Find your plastic spoon and upgrade it.
What does this mean for tabletop game publishers?
For me, Jeni’s demonstrates that if I’m going to charge a premium price ($70 or higher), I need to ensure that every aspect of the product and the experience is carefully crafted to support that price. Honestly, that’s what I already aim for, but sometimes I forget the back end of that decision: If we’re offering a premium product, it’s okay to increase the price to support the premium nature of it (and to ensure that it’s a sustainable product for Stonemaier).
What do you think? Where have you experienced a carefully crafted premium product or service?
This is a series that will feature innovative strategies from non-Kickstarter, non-tabletop game companies as they might apply to other businesses. If you have any recommendations, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.